Amazing Audiobooks Nominations
Please feel free to suggest a title!
Accidental Highwayman, The by Ben Tripp, read by Steve West. Macmillan Audio, 2014. 10 hours; 9 discs. 978-1-4272-6038-3. After his master’s untimely death, Kit Bristol, after being mistaken for him, is caught up in his master’s missions and being chased by the law. West voices an impressive number of voices in this fun and engaging audiobook.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, read by Kirby Heyborne and Ariadne Meyers. Listening Library, 2015. 11 hours, 4 minutes; 9 discs. 978-0-5535-5219-5. $50. After Theodore “the freak” Finch talks down popular Violet Markey from the school bell tower, they team up for a school project wandering Indiana. Meyers’ authentic teen voice captures Violet’s fear and heartbreak; Heyborne voices Finch with such vibrancy it makes his descent all the more heartbreaking.
Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes, read by Caitlin Davies. Blackstone Audio, 2014. 6 hours, 15 minutes; 5 disks. 978-1483027975. $29.95. Anika wants to keep her status as the third most popular girl at her Nebraska high school - even if it means keeping some pretty BIG secrets. This is a contemporary “coming of age” female drama that ends with a shocking tragedy.
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, read by Dan Bittner. Harper Audio, 2015. 8 hours, 30 minutes; 7 disks. 978-1481533577. $35.99. In small town Bone Gap, Illinois things are pretty quiet – unless you are the O’Sullivan boys. For Finn and Sean O’Sullivan it seems like people are always leaving them. First their father dies, then their mother runs away with an orthodontist and now… Roza is gone. This realistic fiction with some fantasy twists will definitely appeal to YA. Some sexual content.
Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell, read by Bianca Amato. Recorded Books, 2015. 6 hours, 20 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-4906-6433-0. $66.75 Wilhelmina “Wildcat” Silver is a unique character who is living wild on the land of her beloved Zimbabwe; she is strong-minded, stubborn, exasperating at times, the equal to any boy, and also honest and true to herself. After she faces a tremendous loss, she is shipped off to Leewood School for girls in England where she is confronted by the haughtiness and cruelty of English girls she cannot understand and realizes that she’s not prepared to survive in the cold, compulsory land of England.
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman, read by Michael Curran-Dorsano. Harper Audio, 2015. 8 hours, 15 minutes. 9780062368041. Caden lives between two worlds - one where his parents and teachers are worried about him, and one where he’s a crew member on a pirate’s ship. He’s given impossible tasks in both lives, and soon finds himself torn between them. While this story is already extraordinary, Michael Curran-Dorsano takes the whole thing to the next level.
Conspiracy of Us, The by Maggie Hall, read by Julia Whelan. Listening Library, 2015. 9 hours 34 min; 8 discs. 978-1101891308. Avery West’s life changes when she discovers that her estranged father’s family is rich, powerful and hiding a secret that could end the world. Julia Whelan voices Avery’s fear, loneliness and desperation in a way that grips the listener and makes it hard to turn this fast paced thriller off.
The Cottage in the Woods by Katherine Coville, read by Katherine Kellgren. Listening Library, 2015. 12 hours, 46 minutes; 10 discs. 978-0-5535-5622-3. In this unique retelling of the Goldilocks story, the young enchanted bear Ursula lands her first work as governess to a young cub and a blonde human girl so terrified that she is now mute. They, along with the other enchanted creatures in their area, face increasing pressures from a powerful group of humans trying to repress the enchanteds. Kellgren’s incredible voicings of the human and animal characters, plus her strong singing, enhance the story into a true experience.
Crystal by Walter Dean Myers, read by Sisi Aisha Johnson. Recorded Books, 2015. 5 hours; 5 discs. 978-1-4703-9296-3. Sixteen-year-old African-American Crystal has the world at her feet. She’s been modeling for magazines, and now her career is set to ramp up quickly, increasing her chances of escaping her ghetto Brooklyn life. Trying to balance her new career with her school life—along with her new modeling companions and longtime friends—Crystal is forced to make adult decisions. She’s not sure if she can please everyone and still find her own happiness. Johnson deftly handles a variety of character voices, lifting the story beyond the written word.
Darkest Part of the Forest, The by Holly Black, read by Lauren Fortgang. Hachette Audio, 8 hours, 30 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4789-3295-6. $25. In Fairfold, Maine, a town where fairies live amongst humans, Hazel and her brother Ben are drawn into fairy intrigues and the mystery of the release of faerie prince from his glass coffin. Fortgang’s excellent pacing and creepy voices for the fae makes this a fun listen.
Fairest by Marissa Meyer, read by Rebecca Soler. Macmillan Audio, 2015. 6 hours, 30 minutes; 6 discs. 978-1-4272-5885-4. $29.99. Previous books in the Lunar Chronicles series showed that Queen Levana of Luna wants to not just keep her crown, but extend her control over Earth, beginning with a marriage to Prince Kai. This book reveals Levana’s past and the events that have made her desperate to maintain her “glamour” of beauty and achieve her dreams of Empire. Soler is able to perfectly match the attitudes and thoughts of the characters.
Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang, read by Julia Whelan. Harper Audio, 2014. 5 hours, 15 minutes; 5 discs. 978-1-4830-2808-8. $29.99. Liz Emerson tried to kill herself in a car wreck. Near death, she is taken to the hospital. Via flashbacks and an unusual narrator, Liz’s life and her impact on others is revealed piece-by-piece in a non-chronological format. Whelan evokes the variety of emotions of a modern-day teen in a manner that keeps the listener intrigued.
Firefight, by Brandon Sanderson, read by McLeod Andrews. Brilliance Audio, 2015. 11 hours, 31 minutes; 1 MP3 disc. 978-1501227301. $14.99. Having defeated Steelheart, Mitosis, and a host of other Epics, David and the rest of the Newcago crew have set their sights on the devastatingly powerful Epic, Regalia. Andrews’ masterful pacing will keep listeners on the edge of their seats, waiting to find out whether the Reckoner forces will triumph or fail.
The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons, read by Soneela Nankani. Recorded Books, 2015. 12 hours; 10 discs. 978-1-4640-4212-6. In a world where the men have enslaved women and carefully control their numbers, Aya has been raised free in the wilderness. Kept a prisoner for auction, Aya will do anything to escape. If only that strange mute boy didn’t watch her so carefully. Nankani deftly shares Aya’s plight and dreams of a better life.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, read by Neil Gaiman, Derek Jacobi, Robert Madge, Clare Corbett, Miriam Margolyes, Andrew Scott, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Emilia Fox, Reece Shearsmith, Lenny Henry, and an ensemble cast. Harper Audio, 2014. 8 hours, 24 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-0623-6446-3. $27.99. As the “Jacks of all trade” continue to seek after his life, Nobody Owens finds protection and power in the residents of a graveyard, but his lessons soon come to an end as he must face his past and live life away from the dead. Derek Jacobi and a full cast production bring new life to The Graveyard Book, combining outstanding, distinct narration with superb production that few audiobooks can match.
Half Wild by Sally Green, read by Carl Prekopp. Listening Library, 2015. 9 hours, 30 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-1018-9109-4. Nathan, a half white/half black witch, is determined to find his love, Annalise, while struggling with the gifts he received from his black witch father. Prekopp’s skillful pacing and intense narration make for a compelling listen.
How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon, read by Cherise Boothe, Shari Peele, Kevin R. Free, Avery Glymph, Patricia R. Floyd, Brian Hutchison, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Ezra Knight, Peter Jay Fernandez, Hubert Point-Du Jour and Korey Jackson. Recorded Books, 2015. 7 hours; 7 discs. 978-1-4906-6002-8. After African-American teenager Tariq Johnson is shot to death by a white man, members of the community relate what happened, often with conflicting points of view. This tragic and timely audio is enhanced by the full cast performance.
I Was Here by Gayle Forman, read by Jorjeana Marie. Listening Library, 2015. 8 hours; 7 discs. 978-0-5535-5610-0. $40. After learning that her lifelong best friend, Meg, has committed suicide in a chillingly calculated way while away at college, Cody begins a journey searching for the truth about friendship, family, love, and hope. Jorjeana Marie boldly presents the complexity of grief and guilt that Cody experiences while portraying supporting characters’ voices well.
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga, read by Rebecca Lowman. Harper Audio, 2015. 8 hours, 15 minutes, 8 discs. 978-1481533089. Haunted by a horrible crime her father commits, Aysel Seran chooses to end her own life and partners with like-minded Roman after meeting him on a website for suicidal teens. Lowman’s earnest tone embodies Aysel perfectly and listeners are taken on a emotional journey.
Night Gardener, The by Jonathan Auxier, read by Beverley Crick. Recorded Books, 2015. 8 hours 45 min; 7 discs. 978-1490658780. Two Irish orphans, Molly and Kip are so desperate for work that they travel to England to work for the mysterious, cursed, Windsor family. Crick does an excellent job with the accents and with giving each character a unique personality in this creepy horror novel.
Red Rising, by Pierce Brown, read by Timothy Gerard Reynolds. Recorded Books, 2014. 16 hours. 978-1-4640-4215-7. A senseless act of brutality changes Darrow’s life forever, and now he has the chance to take down the ruling class that has so long oppressed and terrorized his people. Reynolds brings forth the raw pain and devastation that threatens to consume Darrow as he embarks on his harrowing and perilous journey.
The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi, read by Ariana Delawari and Assaf Cohen. Recorded Books, 2014. 7 hours, 39 minutes. 978-1-4906-2740-3. $77.75. Afghani story of defying culture and family for love featuring Hasara girl Fatima, Pashtun boy Samiullah and Sami’s Pashtun cousin, Rashid. Delawari and Cohen bring this story of Afghan struggle to life by giving it voices that are compelling, sympathetic, and heartbreaking.
Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis, read by Mia Barron. Recorded Books, 2014. 9 hours, 30 minutes; 8 discs. 978-1-4906-3278-0. Essie has been living for years on the mining planet, Thanda, developing worker robots to make the miners’ lives easier, and trying to prove she’s not just a pretty face. When a spaceship crash lands and she meets the young pilot, Dane, she is forced to confront her past life as Princess Snow and the reasons for her escape from that life eight years earlier. Barron’s sense of the characters and personalities of the story makes this fantasy take on the well known Snow White story seem refreshingly new.
A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry, read by Andi Arndt. Blackstone Audio, 2014. 3 hours, 30 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-4815-1748-5. $49. Younger sister Meg is envious of Molly, her cheerleader sibling. When the two girls are forced to share a bedroom, Molly draws a chalk line down the bedroom walls to push Meg away, and Meg grows to resent her older sister’s demands for attention. When a surprise illness keeps Molly at the hospital, Meg finds her time filled with projects with neighbors in ways she’d never expected, until she must finally accept what she doesn’t want to face.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, read by Edward Herrmann. Listening Library, 2014. 8 hours, 8 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-5533-9711-6. $22.50. Louis Zamperini’s plane crashes in the Pacific Ocean during World War II, and, despite all odds, he manages to survive being a castaway, captivity and experimentation in a torture camp, and assault by brutal guards in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Herrmann’s strong, smooth cadence illuminates the text and brings the listener both excitement and dread in this incredible biography.
The Unlikely Warrior by Georg Rauch, read by Robert Fass. Blackstone Audio, 2015. 8 hours, 30 minutes; 7 discs. 978-1-4815-0555-0. $34.95. Georg Rauch recounts his experience as a Jewish soldier in the German Army on the Russian Front during World War II, Fass’ steady tone and good pacing keep listeners rapt as he relates the horrors of war Rauch faced.
Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger, read by Moira Quick. Hachette Audio, 2015. 9 hours; 9 discs. 978-1478955849. Sophronia Temminick, a student at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, helps fellow student Sidheag return to her werewolf pack in Scotland. Quick’s lively pacing and diverse and unique voices make for a delightful listen.
Wild Rover No More: Being the Last Recorded Account of the Life & Times of Jacky Faber by L.A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren. Listen and Live Audio, Inc., 2015. 11 hours; 9 discs. 978193166656. After years of adventure and intrigue, Jacky's story is coming to a close. But not before she finds herself working as a governess and then as a circus performer - all while avoiding the local authorities who want to string her up. Katherine Kellgren takes on each new persona with a flourish and voices every character and action masterfully.